For those who have their ears and eyes on what is often described as the ‘underground’ hip hop scene in Ghana, the name Lvin Red might not be new. For the others, the artiste, formerly known as Red Mic’ is introducing himself to them through his new mixtape, The Drop Off, released a few days ago.
The Drop Off is a 13 track mixtape with songs recorded between 2013 and 2015 and spans the themes of hard work and its gains (hustle and success) and love. With production from some of today’s young and gifted producers in Ghana as well features from rappers Gemini, C-Real, J-Town. Lvin Red also drafted the likes of Quayba, Alexia, Sedem and Feli Nuna-who added luster on The Drop Off.
Here is a track-by-track review of the songs on The Drop Off mixtape.
BIG CITY DREAMS: I don’t know if the concept of starting a tape with a motivational ‘speech’ is fading out. The opening track on Drop Off affords the listener an inkling into what to expect. Big City Dreams is about chasing the big dream (following ones passion). This TrakZilla produced joint carries a heavy thumping beat with Lvin Red sharing his dreams with the listener. The brief horn intersection towards the end of the song is quiet brilliant.
CAN’T HOLD ME: Lvin Red is faced with a dilemma – either to sacrifice his hustle and ambitions for love or vice versa on this D. Boi produced track. At the end, Lvin Red chooses the grind singing my heart is falling out of my chest, but I gotta go. This love ain’t gonna hold me back. His attempt at showcasing another style in his trove didn’t sound right to me. However, the singing compensated for it.
OCEANS: We can be whoever we want (can)/ We can fly across the ocean/swim through the 7 seas, Red sings the hook. This Epidemix produced song carries a rock vibe courtesy a sampled electro guitar whines. The theme is still about success and scaling obstacles.
I BE THE GUY: It is true that sometimes featuring big name acts on a song does well to boost the profile of artiste especially when they are up and coming. This song sought to prove how Lvin Red could hold his fort in the midst of big names in the GH hip hop music. With J-Town on the hook, Lvin Red, Gemini and C-Real on the flow, hip hop is represented. As to who stood tops on this TrakZilla produced fast flow beat, you decide.
FAVOURITE GIRL: Drumrolls covered in bass and kicks. Piano chords permeating through the beat-typical Nel Magnum signature. As could be inferred from the song title, it’s about taking his favourite girl across the globe when the success come. Feli Nuna who was featured held her own with her 16 bars. I my honest opinion the horns at the end of the song was a little disconnected. Good work on the production nonetheless.
TONIGHT: D.Boi laced this mellow and smooth groove allowing Lvin Red to exhibit his singing abilities in full. Red is heard glorifying the physical attributes of a girl whiles ‘loving her, kissing her and touching her all night’. The female voice on the ad-libs and harmonies I suspect belongs to Quayba.
WORK: Lvin Red returns to the ‘hustle’ theme on this joint rapping about how he is working hard to get to the top-be recognized as one of the best rappers around. This Nel Magnum produced beat evokes memories of Lil’ Wayne’s 6 foot 7 foot.
LIVE IT UP: ‘Is it too much to ask? / Is it a crime to want more? / And what I’m living for?’ Lvin Red quizzed on this emo-introspective tune. Red sings and raps on this song about defying all the odds on his path to greatness.
SHOW ME THE WAY: On this Nel Magnum produced song, Lvin Red reaches out to a higher power to show him the way. The guitar grooves at the beginning of the song gave it a pop vibe. Alexia, who was featured sounds mesmeric-her captivating voice rising with steadiness. I feel Red could have sung some more though (a full verse maybe).
ON TOP OF THE WORLD: A song about hope and staying focused to one’s dreams. The song exude a pop-rock feel with Red dishing out words of encouragement. And if you think the voice that comes after the 2nd verse belongs to Sia, please be informed that’s the talented Quayba.
JUNGLE: Red talks money on this trap song produced by Tracy. There is an infectious bounce in this song. Obviously Jungle is a metaphor for obstacles one has to concur. One line that hit you is ‘a bad economy/Thanks to Mahama’.Ha!
PATIO: Why didn’t Red sing throughout this song? It’s a love song bruh and singing would have made it extra dope along with Sedem’s vocals. Produced by Nyke Out, the songs talks about making in the patio.
KINGSHIP: The late 80s and early 90s hiphop vibe with dj scratches is brought to live on this Nyke Out produced track which talks about taking chances en route to getting crowned as the king. Red raps from the perspective of a fan/observer or watcher. Kingship crowns the mixtape.
The Drop Off Mixtape is a good attempt by Lvin Red to put himself out there. The producers he enlisted on the tape did an excellent work likewise the featured artistes. This mixtape shines light on Quayba, Alexia and Sedem-three talented singers.
However, it is not an exceptional piece of work-it is not a tape that blows the listener away. The themes broached on this tape are not expansive- Lvin Red concentrated on the chasing the dream and love.